News and Tribune

October 7, 2013

Wild finds at theater’s costume sale

Derby Dinner Playhouse clears out clothing, prop archives



 Erica Wright said the coat she had just purchased was “hideous,” then she laughed in satisfaction at the unique find.

Wright, Jeffersonville, was one of more than 100 people who went looking for a deal at Derby Dinner Playhouse’s costume, clothing and prop sale Saturday.

Wright had found the coat, which appeared to be made out of canvas that had been spraypainted yellow, large, shiny buttons and a collection of braided ropes placed near its neckline.

While the coat won’t make it into Wright’s normal clothing rotation, she said it could be perfect for spending Halloween as Austin Powers, the often helpless spy played by Mike Myers in the comedic movie franchise.

Derby Dinner Playhouse holds the sale about every other year as a way to reduce its collection of wardrobes that have accumulated from shows performed at the theater venue.

The company’s costume designer, Sharon Murray Harrah, pointed to three large semi-trailers parked on the property near the sale that she said were stuffed full of costumes.

“Everything we have here has been worn in some show,” Harrah said. “We have so much stuff, to the point I can hardly look at.”

Derby Dinner Playhouse’s overstock means people like Wright can find just the right element for a Halloween costume.

Harrah said she had sold earlier in the day a white fur suit, coconut bra, several poodle skirts and a pair of purple chaps. But not all the items were that extraordinary. The majority of the clothing was stylish, vintage and contemporary women’s clothing.

Harrah oversaw the sale of clothing outside, while inside a small warehouse, Lee Buckholz, the theater’s associate producer, sold a wide array of furniture and zany props.

“This is a great way for us to communicate with the public, and it also give us an opportunity to sort of get rid of a lot of stuff we just don’t have space to store,” Buckholz said.

Some of the items Buckholz was clearing from storage included props from the a production of Wizard of Oz, including two storm cellars and a mask of the Wizard so large that it is made up of four pieces.

“Probably, the funniest things we have for sale are the four urinals,” Buckholz said, pointing to a set of oversized Styrofoam bathroom fixtures.

When asked why someone would want a fake 5-foot urinal, Buckholz said, “That’s a darn good question.”

He said some people come to the sale looking for a specific item, while others come just for the hunt.

“There is no average customer that comes here,” Buckholz said, as a customer walked away with an excessively large portrait of musician Johnny Cash from the theater’s presentation of Ring of Fire.

Izzy Zorn, 7, Louisville, had come to the sale with her mother and bounced between the racks of clothing excited with the clothing she would be taking home.

Zorn said she will be dressing up for Halloween as her favorite Harry Potter character, Hermione Granger.

Zorn was happy to hold up a black cape with a subtle white pattern that will become part of her costume, but the girl was equally excited to show off a tot-sized red velvet dress she hoped her mother would also let her have.

Thanks to the Derby Dinner Playhouse clearing out its closet, Zorn had found a few items to add to hers, as she is now ready to enjoy her favorite part of Halloween: “Trick-or-treating with my grandma, mom and dad, and getting to dress up,” she said.